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Warning issued as Rolexes are snatched off wrists to be sold on the black market

by | Aug 24, 2022 - 12:13PM | Watches

Eyes are firmly set on the black market after dozens of Rolexes and other luxury watches have been snatched off the wrists of watch collectors. 

Blazon thieves are targeting Rolex wearers in California at the moment, stealing them with suspected plans to sell well above their retail price on the black market. 

It comes after a gang of women, dubbed the Rolex Rippers, robbed more than 30 men of their Rolexes in the UK earlier this year. 

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The thefts have become so prolific that the Oakland Police Department issued a warning on its Facebook page.

The department said it was investigating more than 20 watch robberies – most of which were stolen Rolex watches – and warned the thieves were armed. 

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Stolen Rolex

“In most cases, the armed individuals approach and forcibly remove the watch from the victim’s wrist,” it said. 

“These types of robberies are still happening throughout the Bay Area.” 

It comes after Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc’s custom Richard Mille was stolen.

The Richard Mille was snatched from Leclerc’s wrist while he was swarmed by fans in the Tuscan city of Viareggio in April. 

The watch was an RM 67-02 Charles Leclerc prototype worth between $320,000 and $500,000. 

It was designed specifically for the F1 driver, with an incision of Leclerc’s name, and colors of his hometown of Monaco. 

A couple of months later in July, the watch resurfaced in Spain after it was sold on the black market. 

The thieves were forced to accept $200,000, around one-third of the watch’s estimated price. 

Police suspect the theft may have been linked to a notorious gang from Italy’s Campania region. 

Police said the thieves were probably unaware of the fact the Richard Mille was a custom piece and therefore harder to sell. 

Richard Mille assigns a serial number to each Richard Mille timepiece, making it impossible to sell a stolen watch in the open market.

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